Robert Todd Lincoln

Robert Retires

In 1903, Robert Todd Lincoln purchased a 392-acre estate near Manchester, Vermont. The only one of Abraham Lincoln’s four children to survive to adulthood, Robert had lived a busy life in the shadow of his father’s reputation and his family’s enormous grief. All these factors made home an elusive idea for Robert, as his personal and professional obligations often forced him into an exceptionally itinerate life.

The estate, which he called Hildene (old English for hill and valley with stream), became Robert’s refuge for the remainder of his life. There he found the privacy he had always sought, overlooking his favorite golf course. Yet Robert also found solace in claiming one of America’s founding myths—the nobility of the farmer. Although a large estate with a Georgian-revival mansion, Robert defined his new home as a farm, where he owned about 40 cows. As he pointedly told a friend, “I am now a Vermont farmer! and beginning to enjoy life.”


Object label:

Hildene Place-Setting

A place-setting from Hildene inscribed with Robert Todd Lincoln’s initials.

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum
Gift of Robert Todd Lincoln Beckwith, 1976

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